Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased by 161 million pounds in 2012, up 6.2 percent, to reach nearly 2.8 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the American Chemistry Council. Meanwhile, the recycling rate for all plastic bottles rose 1.6 percent to 30.5 percent for the year. It is the 23rd consecutive year that the plastic bottle recycling rate has increased, since the organizations began conducting the survey in 1990.
During 2012, the collection of high-density polyethylene (HDPE, #2) bottles — a category that includes milk jugs and bottles for household cleaners and detergents — rose 45.3 million pounds to top 1 billion pounds for the first time, helping to boost the recycling rate for HDPE bottles from 29.9 to 31.6 percent.
“We are very encouraged by the steady growth in plastic bottle recycling,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR, in a press release. “Used plastics are valuable materials, and recyclers rely on all of us to make sure these resources make it into a recycling bin.”